It happens to the best of us. We apply sunscreen. We miss a spot. We get a raging sunburn and vow never to step foot in the sun again. Until the next time.
Sunburns are serious business and if you’ve overdone it, you’ll want to take immediate steps to help your body defend itself and get your skin back on track. According to the International Dermal Institute:
“A sunburn is the skin’s response to extreme ultraviolet (UV) exposure and indicates severe damage. In as little as 10 minutes of intense UV exposure, the skin sets into motion a system of defense against this enemy. The first indication of damage is redness. This is the body’s inflammatory response in situations requiring repair and is a result of dilating blood vessels. The skin will then start to lose moisture and hydration, which will be apparent with a feeling of tightness.”
The top recommended steps for treating sunburn are: get out of the sun immediately, drink plenty of water to re-hydrate, and do not return into the sun until your skin is fully healed. It may take a few days but it’s important to let your body heal. If your skin is severely blistered or you’re experiencing fever and chills, call your doctor for advice. This is especially important for your little ones. Otherwise you’ll want to reduce the inflammation and try to reduce damage to the deeper layers of your skin.
There are a variety of ways to reduce inflammation. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends these 5 Ways to Treat a Sunburn but what about calming that nagging feeling like your entire body has been lit on fire (can you tell I grew up by the beach and endured my fair share of sunburns?!)
To reduce the sting of a sunburn you can apply an after-sun product (check out Babble’s 25 Soothing After-Sun Products) but if you don’t have access or don’t want to spend money on one, or just prefer natural alternatives, try looking in your pantry. Many household items contain natural ingredients and acids that help cool and soothe sunburn pain. There isn’t a lot of scientific backing but proponents swear up and down that these remedies relieve pain and make sunburns more tolerable.
Aloe, oatmeal, and cucumber are among the most well-known but check out these 10 surprising sunburn remedies, all of which you likely have on hand already:
Tell us, what do you do to relieve sunburn pain when you’ve overdone it?
More from Jill Seiman of Glamamom on Babble Beauty this month: